Example case Gender and Participation

An NGO working on women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa region is starting a new programme in a Middle Eastern country. The goal of the programme is to strengthen the influence local women have on community initiatives at the local, provincial and national level. Before starting the programme, the NGO wants to see what the current perception of women’s participation in community initiatives is. The NGO wants to learn more about what kind of initiatives women are already participating in and what the prevailing ideas about their participation are in the community. To explore this topic, the NGO sets up a few meetings and invites women from the community to participate and interview each other using the following inquiry. In total, 46 women are interviewed through Sprockler.

After having finished the data collection and having done some initial interpretation of the results, the NGO organised another meeting where they invited the women who had participated to go over the results with them and interpret them together. The NGO also took some time to discuss what the programme could entail based on their stories.

Interpretation questions

2. My story is about...:

From the answers to the second question about what the story was about, we can see that women mainly talk about five areas of the community initiatives – sense of safety, formal education, politics, community life and freedom – which can indicate that these are the main areas of interest. It could also indicate that women do not feel confident to participate in initiatives related to other areas and further research is necessary to learn more about this.

3. The main character in my story is…

4. Woman's role in the story

5. The tone of voice of your story is…

In question 5, we can see that stories related to politics and freedom are negative, while stories related to community life are mainly positive. It will be interesting to read the stories about politics and freedom, which are indicated as more negative, to understand what is hiding there. The positive stories about community life are also worth attention as they provide positive examples of initiatives where women had a role in a community initiative. In the Visualizer and the interactive report, it is possible to click on the dots and read the story behind the dot to find out the whole story.

6. Feelings

7. Events like the one in my story happen…

8.a How easy/difficult was it for you/the woman in the story to participate in the initiative?

The results of question 5 can be compared with question 8a where the answers to the question about how easily people accepted the woman’s participation are plotted. It seems that one of the main reasons why the story was positive or negative could be similar to the extent to which other people accepted the woman’s leadership or participation. When comparing the results of question 8a with the answers to question 8b about the woman’s skills, we do not see the same pattern. Apparently, the lack or possession of skills in one area or another is not the reason for the story to be perceived as positive or negative.

8.b How easy/difficult was it for you/the woman in the story to participate in the initiative? (with topic of story))

One more interesting case is that women, who talked about themselves in their stories, viewed their skills as not sufficient. In the meantime, women, who talked about other women, viewed their skills as more sufficient. This might indicate that self-esteem could be an issue worth addressing to assist these women.

8.b How easy/difficult was it for you/the woman in the story to participate in the initiative?

Context questions

9. I think of myself and other women as …

10. My community thinks of me and other women as ...

11. I see inequality between women and men in my community mainly in the sphere of …

Another interesting result can be seen when comparing women’s age to in which sphere they see inequality in question 11. More younger women who answered this inquiry consider this to be in the sphere of politics and community life and more older women consider it to be in the family life sphere.

Who are the storytellers?



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These visuals provide interesting information for the NGO and can be useful when planning the programme. For example, it showed the fields where women currently undertake initiatives and showed that the older women who shared their stories have a different perception about where gender inequality mainly takes place than the younger women. By using these results and the ones from the other answers not portrayed here, the NGO can start the conversation about strengthening women’s influence on initiatives.